I have a bit of a love hate relationship with music festivals. I went to Glastonbury in 2000 with my cousins and although I loved the music, sunshine and banter I had such a pathological fear of camping that i had to practically drink myself unconscious before I could get any sleep. By early on Sunday afternoon I had a hangover nearly as big as Glastonbury causing us to leave early and miss the headliner David Bowie. I hang my head in shame.
Since then I've had better luck, T in the park 2005 went off without a hitch, Transmt this year was great if a little busy and Perth's own Solas festival this year was the sort of chilled affair that was custom made for me. So when this Craigie dweller heard that there was a festival within walking distance of his house you couldn't sign me up quick enough! Great music, food, and drink with an absolute guarantee that I wouldn't be sleeping in a tent at the end of the night? You're on!
Things went from good to great when we arrived at the site, snapped on our wristbands and the first thing I saw was my Aviva workmate Catriona Duncan and her beautiful red Volkswagen Campervan (it's called Ruby!) converted to a fully functioning cocktail bar! She whipped my girlfriend and I up a couple of "Buckie Braes" a cocktail containing Buckfast, raspberry gin and elderflower cordial. I tell you, there's nothing guaranteed to get you in the festival mood quicker!
While this was all going on we were enjoying the sound of local band the True Gents who despite singer Tobe Jeffery coming down with a case of laryngitis were doing an amazing job of entertaining the crowd. On final song Invermay Wall we were even treated to a guest vocal from Tobe's dad Taff who really gave it laldie! It was later in the queue for the gents I realised that I actually already knew one of the True Gents, guitarist Stu Bennett, who used to stay next to my mum and was one of her favourite neighbours.
As we swapped to lager and cider we marvelled at what a cracking day it was, someone must have made a pretty significant sacrifice to the weather gods considering the weather the rest of the week. Next up was another great local band in the form of The Revivals who were a really cohesive, tight hard rock band who put me in mind of an Appetite for Destruction era Gun's n' Roses. They are a name I've heard before but have never got round to checking them out live and i'm hoping i'll get to see them at their own show soon.
The Purple Felts really eased melodic sunshine with a funky ska vibe that perfectly complimented the sunshine and my mojito (I have to be honest this review is really as much about the booze as the music). I began to notice that whoever was doing the sound was doing a really outstanding job of the mix, the band sounded epic with the horns really cutting through and the bass player (so good that he made me want to throw away my bass and cut off my thumbs in jealousy) was really popping. A rousing take on "One Step Beyond" had folk up and dancing like an inebriated Sugg's.
We then got a wee bit of a change of pace, a little bit of country to go with all this rock n' roll when Rancho Re Bop and the Full Moon Howlers took the stage declaring that they were sponsored by Murray's Pies! The pies seem to be doing the trick as they play a blinder with lots of familiar songs like Jimmy Webb's Witchita Lineman, Harry Nilson's Everybody's Talking at Me and The Beatles I've Just Seen a Face. We even get some Roy Rodgers and an apocalptic cowboy song called Wild West.
As Eddi Reader got ready to play I was a little conflicted as Dave Low (spelled it correctly this time Dave) was headlining the clubhouse at the same time. I'd seem him play his blues set at Perth Museum and he's a really great player and singer, if you ever get the chance: check him out. It was at this point that I ran into Rhona from Small City Big Personality and she ushered me to the 'VIP section' well at least that's how Rhona referred to it! Where she managed to secure me a bag of sweeties, rock n' roll! Eddi Reader was in fine form both vocally and with her chat. She precedes the song Baby Boat by telling us how she needs to sell plenty of merchandise so she can finally move her boys out of the house. Of course we get a rendition of Perfect which is erm... perfect and even morphs into Elvis Presley as a bit of a tribute to her father. Speaking of tributes, we are also treated to a spine tingling version of Amy Winehouses Love is a Losing Game.
Even as Eddi and her band leave the stage the entertainment has not finished for the evening with The Red Pine Timber Company still to play. They play a blinding set including recent single Hollow Tree and a really slinky version of Bowie's Sorrow. By this point I am wearing Rhona's flowers in my hair and we are taking copious amounts of selfies most of which have us looking so horrific they will never see the light of day. As the music draws to a close I momentarily consider a drunken walk up to McDonald's at Broxden but think better of it and head home to bed happy to not be sleeping in a tent.
Ben Magg's has garnered plaudits from the BBC, Acoustic Magazine and Maverick Magazine so we sent our live music reviewer Colin down to see what he thought.
A hilarious and captivating bike powered performance of one of Shakespeare's best and most enduring comedies at the beautiful Burmieston Farm and Steading.
August 21st Monday 2017
We sent Gary along to have a go at scaling the fantastic indoor climbing wall based in Perth College's Academy of Sport and Wellbeing.
August 14th Monday 2017
Retired British Police Murder Squad detective Trevor Marriot visited Birnam Arts last week to thrill audience members, including Small City reviewer Graeme, with new evidence which would challenge everything they once thought they knew about this famous killer.
August 6th Sunday 2017